We live through very exciting times! The economy has been turned upside down, and inside out during the past decade. Internet changed the way we shop, the way we go out, the way we interact with our loved ones, the way we take care of our health… just to mention a few aspects of our disrupted lives. We all enjoy the advantages of the new technology, while most of us relish the new app we can download into our tablets.
We also live through very dangerous times! The mode of production has changed in the most unexpected manner. The sharing (or collaborative) economy is taking over. Trade unions across the globe are complaining about the deteriorating conditions in the working lives of their members. Uber, for example, destroyed the livelihood of millions of taxi drivers overnight. AirBnB put the revenue of hotels in jeopardy. Apps are causing millions of workers to lose their jobs literally overnight.
It reminds me of the massive changes the world experienced a few centuries ago, during the Industrial Revolution. Back then, technology helped optimising manufacturing processes. This revolution allowed for the sustained growth in living standards. It also changed the way people were traveling, the places they were living, the way they produced food. Inevitably, there were also negative effects. Child labour became a menace, movements from the villages towards the cities were intensified, populations increased multifold.
In both revolutions, change was inevitable. A changing world awaits all of us in the 21st century. You may be ‘for it’ or ‘against it’. Either way, eventually you will have to embrace it and ‘go with the flow’. Change may cause fear or worry to businesses but it also provides them with unique opportunities. Change creates vacuums in the customer base, it opens up possibilities in new markets, it allows for the wealth to flow towards new directions. As always, entrepreneurs should be there to recognise these opportunities and take advantage of them.
Apart from grabbing existing opportunities, entrepreneurs should also be able to create new ones. The best route to achieve such a target is to focus on innovation. Some people think this is a buzz word that became especially popular in the past five years; a fad that will disappear soon. Not really! Innovation and entrepreneurship have always complemented one another. From the beginning of time until today the most successful business people were also the most innovative ones.
After all, innovation remains the best route to exponential growth. And I am not referring specifically technology based innovative companies. Business model innovation may be implemented with equally fascinating results. In fact, this type of innovation is capable in harnessing existing technologies to the best advantage of the business.
The best examples of technological or other types of innovation remain the startups. This is one of the reasons I decided to create Startdoms (http://startdoms.com) and to focus on developing early stage businesses as well as working with larger ones. Innovation within the startup communities is an incredible force that threatens to change the world even further. Despite the fact that most of these startups are destined to fail, the value they create will power the economy in perpetuity.
Breathing and living innovation on a daily basis is probably the best drug I can imagine. A drug that keeps me constantly on the edge of change and on top of the highest wave of the Digital Revolution.